Hello Sometimes

Read to Grow is thrilled to announce the publication of our new board book, Hello Sometimes, written by Amy Vatner and illustrated by award-winning artist, Gabriella Svenningsen.

Hello Sometimes, ISBN 9780983795124

A little boy leads us through the uncertainties of day-to-day life and shares the enduring message that life is about change. This simple but profound board book helps parents and caregivers support very young children as they make sense of the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Hello Sometimes features simple rhymes, dynamic watercolor illustrations, and a diverse array of characters.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our sponsors and donors, Read to Grow is able to provide over 20,000 copies of Hello Sometimes free of charge to children ages birth–5 enrolled in our partner childcare and preschool programs across Connecticut.

“A reassuring and relatable message tailored to kids and delivered with endearing visual appeal.” — Kirkus Reviews

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Creative Team

Amy Vatner, Author — Amy is an attorney and runs an education representation program for youth who have been arrested, on behalf of the state judicial system and The Children’s Community Programs of Connecticut. Amy is also a clinical instructor at the Yale Child Study Center. She is a graduate of Harvard University and Northwestern University School of Law. Amy is the co-chair of the Education sub-committee of the state’s Juvenile Justice Policy & Oversight Committee. She is a mother of three boys and Hello Sometimes is her first picture book.

Gabriella Svenningsen, Illustrator — Gabriella is an illustrator, with a focus on picture books and visual culture for children and young adults. Watercolor and colored pencils are her main mediums, but she also makes ink drawings, graphite drawings, and small sculptures in paper clay. Always searching for untold stories and seemingly insignificant details: in her work, she aims to capture the small in the big and the big in the small. In 2020 Gabriella was awarded the Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature for Best Illustrated Picture Book, as writer and illustrator for the book What Is a Memory?, as well as an Artist Fellowship Grant from the CT Office of the Arts (COA). A native from Southern Sweden, Gabriella has worked as a museum professional for the last 20 years, at the Serpentine Gallery and the Tate Gallery in London, UK, and currently at Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven. She is the co-founder and facilitator of the ongoing pop-up exhibition and dialogue-based program The Art of Black Dissent, focusing on the art of the African American liberation struggle from the early 20th century to today. She has a long engagement with the art and music community in New Haven, and sometimes makes radio shows at WPKN, community radio in Bridgeport.

Isaac Bloodworth, Art Direction — Isaac is a New Haven native and Black Artist. He is a graduate from the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts Program. Bloodworth’s work centers his blackness and the experiences of the Black community in America. He envisions a world in which his original characters not only survive, but thrive. An experienced muralist, Bloodworth collaborated with Citywide Youth Coalition to paint a permanent installation at their Black and Brown Power Center on Chapel Street. His latest mural was installed by The City of New Haven’s Department of Arts, Culture and The Town Green Special Services District at City Hall. One of his favored methods of storytelling is through puppetry, using a style called “Crankie.” He has performed his puppet works for the Lineage Group at Art Space and at City-Wide Open Studios. Through his murals and puppet performances, he hopes to inspire youth in the Black community to see themselves in a positive light and help them understand their lived experiences. Bloodworth is on staff at the Yale Center for British Arts. He is also a member of A Broken Umbrella Theater.

Viviana Nunez, Translation — Viviana is a coordinator and home visitor for Read to Grow’s Early Steps to School Success program in New Haven. Viviana supports children and families and empowers parents with the skills and knowledge to ensure their children are kindergarten ready. Viviana translated the Spanish version of Hello Sometimes: A Veces Hola.

We are grateful for our sponsors and the many individual donors who continue to make this project possible.

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